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An Investigation: Can I Live on a Yacht?

Updated on August 15, 2018


Living on land is the norm. No one would ever question your decision making when it comes to choosing a property to live in when it's on land. But, what about at sea?

Many people love the sea. It's clear to see that living at a waterfront property is hugely desirable, but with great demand comes great costs. For those that are brave enough for a change, and don't quite fancy shelling out the price for a waterfront property, buying a yacht seems like a great idea.Due to the price of waterfront property exceed the costs of many yachts, the concept of living aboard is becoming an option that more and more people are considering.

Whether you want to buy a yacht to actually live in (instead of a house) or as a form of retreat that you can take mini holidays on, there are a few things to consider.

This hub has been created with professional advice, in aim to help those with interest in purchasing or chartering a yacht, to ensure that they make the right decision - and consequently getting the most out of their new investment.

La Condamine, Monaco. Know for its harbour and moored expensive yachts, the area is also the second oldest of Monaco.
La Condamine, Monaco. Know for its harbour and moored expensive yachts, the area is also the second oldest of Monaco. | Source
Friends and family enjoy time aboard a boat - however, I don't recommend living aboard one like this!
Friends and family enjoy time aboard a boat - however, I don't recommend living aboard one like this! | Source

Living in a yacht instead of a house?

Living in a yacht... People do it - and for good reasons. With that said, living in a yacht is not for everyone, but there are a tremendous number of reasons why you should at least consider it. Here we have discussed some advantages and disadvantages of living in a yacht over a more 'normal' choice of a house, apartment etc...

Advantages of living on a yacht

  • Can be cheaper than running a house, as there are no utility bills
  • You can go wherever you want, when you want
  • The gentle waves will rock you to sleep every night
  • Natural ambience of birds whistling, wind howling and water lapping are incredibly peaceful features
  • No noisy neighbours Access to swimming and other water sports - in place of a garden
  • Some marinas have showering facilities, so your boat doesnt have to take a hammering from users
  • Marinas are generally safe and secure places, thus keep you and your 'home' safe Incredible views and adventures

Disadvantages of living on a yacht

  • Get on and off on all weathers - prepare to embrace wind and rain to get onto your home
  • Careful water and power consumption as you need to top it up yourself
  • Rationalise your belongings, as you will have less space
  • Docking on a marina can be problematic if you sleep on the boat
  • Unexpected costs for general boat maintenance
  • Marine supplies can be expensive compared to residential counterparts
  • Sea can be choppy, along with unfavourable weather conditions that make it difficult to sleep
  • Damp and cold at certain times of the year
  • No lawn (but you have a huge ocean)

One of those days where being on a yacht isn't quite so pleasant

It really does depend

So there we have a balanced summary of the advantages and disadvantages of living on a boat. Depending on your financial situation, size of the boat and locations you spend most of your time in will significantly represent the weighting of each advantage and disadvantage - for example if you intend to locate in a place that has all year round pleasant weather, you'll have no issues with getting on and off in turbulent weather times!

I'd love to hear your comments and opinions and whether you would or would not live on a yacht/boat as opposed to your current living situation!

The privileges that come with yacht ownership

Yacht ownership gives you total control. No compromises or trade-offs - you'll have maximum flexibility and ultimate freedom. Yacht owners are content in the knowledge that the cruising location of your yacht is exactly where YOU say.

The excitement of travelling in a blink of an eye to whichever location you would like is very attractive to prospective yacht buyers, and is already enjoyed by those lucky enough to have this wonderful luxury. The ownership of these fine vessels allows people to not only travel with freedom, but travel in style. Taking a trip to a nearby overseas city via your yacht, or taking a flight that requires waiting and minimal leg legroom... the choices don't really compare.

Yacht ownership also opens you to the endless possibilities of taking up new hobbies and activities. The water-sports industry has come a long way over the past century, meaning there are now a ridiculous range of things you can take up that compliment yacht ownership. Activities such as fishing, jet skiing, water skiing, wake-boarding, swimming, diving and even water jet packing are now all possibilities for you and your family/friends to enjoy together.

Of course, larger yachts may require a crew, so why not go all-out. If you end up with a huge expensive yacht, why not get a crew that not only know how to handle the boat, but those personnel that can make your life aboard the next step higher - such as masseurs, chefs and entertainers.

Have a look at Abandon Comfort's awesome overview of yacht life!

Choosing your yacht

There are a number of attributes to consider when selecting which yacht is right for you.

Yachts come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and are best selected depending on what function you'd like your yacht to serve. Many boat owners would advise you to start with a smaller vessel, it's what they started with and would surely work for you too! However, today there are many yachts which would be perfect for first time buyers. Many are beginning with boats in the 35-45ft boat bracket.

To go along with the initial cost of your boat, you will also require a pool of funds for supplimentary costs such as mooring, maintenence, electronics, safety equipment. When purchasing an older boat, it's worth considering that replacement parts would be harder to source and more expensive. WIth this in mind, remember that an older boat which is in good condition placed at a higher price could actually be the more economic option.It's also beneficial to account for one-time replacements which may cost considerably more, for example a new engine over the course of your ownership.

If, as discussed you'd like your yacht to serve as as much as a residence as a seafaring vessel. Jenneau produce a solid range of sizable and reliable sailboats with popular models such as the smaller varients of the 'Sun Odyssey' and the large super yacht calibre '64'.

Two sailing yachts embrace the lighthouse's presence
Two sailing yachts embrace the lighthouse's presence | Source

Buying your yacht.

Buying a yacht for the first time is an interesting experience. It combines happiness and pride with stress and worry. But the latter too are unneccesary and can be eliminated! As long as you are confident that the yacht is FOR YOU, there shold be no worry at the purchase.

It is a simple procedure, very much like buying a car. You find the yacht that is best for you, and buy it (give or take the numerous forms to fill out). I would give several points to look at when choosing your yacht :

  1. Berth - If it is just you and a partner, why not get a small two or four berth boat? Or if you have a large family, something more like a six or eight. And for those who plan to throw parties and accomodate guests on their yacht, something even bigger. It all depends on your needs, not your budget. However, if you are in a small group, but you invest in something like a mega-yacht, maybe you have made the wrong decision!  Always think very carefully about this.
  2. Condition - Although buying a new yacht is always adviseable, it is much more expensive than buying secondhand. Having said this, yachts tend to lose their value quickly, and so for those on a tighter budget, secondhand 'kills two birds with one stone'. If buying secondhand, however, make sure that the yacht is in a suitable condition. Look for dents, leaks, mould, moss, rot, dark spots, in fact anything which you DO NOT see on the new yachts in the showrooms. Turn on the engine, listen to it. Does it splutter, or sound weak? Rev the throttle a few times - the engine should feel powerful and smooth. When test-sailing your yacht, make sure it handles well, that the steering is adequate, and that the engine can cope with the yacht well above cruising speed. This is an extremely important factor of buying a yacht, and therefore must be made a priority. However, if you own or have access to a shipyard or workshop, there is no reason you could not buy a lesser-conditioned yacht, and perform repairs on it yourself (with the aid of a yacht/boat repair book).   
  3. Finance - One of the most important decisions made about purchasing your yacht isn't made by you - it's made by your wallet. With luxury yachts being so expensive, one must take care not to 'overdo it'. Yachting is a great experience for sure, but be very wary of the fact that more expense will pile onto the original price, such as harboring, maintenance, fuel, or insurance.  
  4. Size - yachts display a obvious correlation - the bigger the yacht is, the more expensive. Finito. Obviously, a couple on a small sailing yacht show that they aren't on minimum wage, but a large family  on a mega-yacht are blatantly displaying that they have lots and lots of geld.  
  5. Location  - If you live in Glasgow, and you have bought a yacht in Barcelona, that's fine if you are willing to go down there to collect it. However, if you want to sail your yacht exclusively in sunny, sub-tropical waters, then actually it's best to live there. If  you are willing to go to the location of your yacht once or twice a year, then it can be as far away as you wish. However, if you feel like you are not seeing enough of your yacht, then it's either in the wrong place, or it was the wrong purchase for you.

Yachting is a great experience, and a great way to see the world - without the boundaries and hedges of Roads. With such a beautiful method of travel, and such an expensive one too, I hope this hub helps to purchasing the RIGHT yacht. 

This Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 349 serves as a compact vessel to enjoy the ocean.
This Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 349 serves as a compact vessel to enjoy the ocean. | Source

How do you want your yacht?

There are basically four categories of yacht regarding how new they are and how they are built, these are as follows.

Production Yachts

Production yachts are produced much in the same way that cars are, as the name suggests, off the production line.

These yachts, while traditionally smaller than your custom counterparts, can fulfil all the desired functions for a much more reasonable price. If you're after a quality assured, simple and reliable yacht, then a production yacht could be the perfect choice for you.

Semi-custom Yachts

These combine the cost-effectiveness and simplicity of a production yacht with the diversity and options that are available in your custom models. resulting in a decidedly just-right happy medium. You can have it altered to your specifications, while not being extremely expensive.

Custom Yachts

So, this is the option for the real yacht connoisseurs with a fair bit of cash to play with. These take around three years from inception to fully construct. This is easily the most expensive option as you are having it design and built to your exacting specifications. Your very own dream-boat. Many clients enjoy the design and construction phases of this project just as much, if not more than the finished result. Your very own design project, however while most would have to settle for a model, you get the real thing!

Brokerage Yachts

'Brokerage' is the boating community term for 'used', however while this can have negative connotations of being inferior to new boats, and while in some cases this may be the case (depending on the state of the used yacht) Brokerage yachts can have a significant price advantage over a fresh model. These are also usually avaliable immediately - since they are ready-built and out of the water - ready to go!

The obvious problem with brokerage yachts is that they can come with some wear and tear, and as previously mentioned, the scale of this should influence the sale.

When considering the sale, it may be worth factoring in a refitting budget, as to any changes or renovations you'd like to make on the yacht when deciding on a fair price. If you play your cards right, you may well end up with a much better and much cheaper model than if you went and bought a brand new yacht!

Do You Really Need a High-Speed House?

Once you're all settled into your docked life, you actually may use your boat considerably less. This is because you will have to disconnect your services, stow everything away just so you can sail for a couple of hours.

Fact: Boats deteriorate if they are not used. If you buy a proper sailing boat, that's going to deteriorate due to infrequent use, then you would have spent a lot of money on features you don't use. So it may be better to instead get a trawler which can be moved if need be but not purpose build for high level sailing.

Which category is right for me?

When deciding on which you should go for, consider the following.

  • If getting a yacht quickly is your first objective, you should consider getting a new production or a semi-custom, or even a brokerage yacht if it doesn't require any extensive amount of refit.
  • If having a yacht which meets your exacting specifications, and is right for you, then consider getting either a 'custom' or 'semi-custom' yacht. Alternatively consider getting a brokerage yacht with a good budget to make any modifications you need.
  • If the price of the yacht is the main consideration for you, it would be worth staying away from new and fully custom yachts. You can find smaller production and semi-custom yachts in a similar range of price to new models, however they will usually be smaller as a result.

The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever ...

- Jacques Yves Cousteau

Live aboard a yacht?

Would you live on a yacht instead of your current living situation?

See results

Do I need to use a Yacht Broker?

Yacht brokers can be seen simply as supplying the same sort of service a real estate agent would for property. They are agents that will work for you to help find and purchase the boat of your dreams. Normally, it's the seller of the yacht or boat that pays the broker, but the broker has to supply excellent service to both sellers and potential buyers!

Some of the things a broker will do for you when buying a boat:

A yacht broker no doubt has tonnes of experience and knowledge within the industry and consequently can help match your requirements with a boat. They listen to your needs and help you decide if the boat you're after is one that represents best value for you. They can often tell you about the condition of a boat, projected maintenance costs and about the seller to help you understand the history of your potential new yacht.

They can help you get a loan or finance deal to help pay for the boat, as well as marine insurance, which is pretty much a necessity. With their contacts and leverage they are able to work to get you a better deal from all angles.

Making offers is a step that you may not know about. Brokers are making offers on boats on a daily basis, so undoubtedly should know what they are doing. They will guide you through tax, basic, transportation, equipment and installation costs so that you don't have to worry throughout the process. Yacht brokers will also help you complete any required paperwork, with different requirements depending on your country. Such documents could include offer to purchase, bill of sale, registration, tax forms as well as ownership certificates.

Safeguard your funds and after sale care are two further services offered by good brokers. After sale care from these brokers will include moorage, repair, facilities as well as helping you get to know your boat inside and out. Furthermore, there client base means they have plenty of other boaters that you could join up with to create a boating club, enjoy experiences together in your new found joy.

Is chartering a yacht an option?

More and more people are taking the option of yacht charter in place of buying a yacht. Buying a yacht ties you down to a single location. For example, if you have a yacht anchored in North Wales, you can't sail that yacht in the Maldives (unless you are planning a very long journey at that). On the other hand, if you charter a yacht, you will be able to sail anywhere, simply yacht charter at that given location. This gives you the ability to make use of a yacht wherever you are in the world - Great for travellers.

Tips for buying a boat


It's better to have the right boat in time, than it is to have just any boat instantly

About your Berth

Very few marinas actually officially allow people to live aboard their boats - having said that, lot's of people do so. It's largely a matter of yacht discretion. You will have to do thorough research of the area before choosing a berth. Remember that different berths cost varying sums of money depending on the location and quality of where you park your boat.

Maybe Trawler life Makes More Sense for You?
Maybe Trawler life Makes More Sense for You? | Source

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